Durango author Blake Crouch reimagines memory in his latest book, “Recursion”

by Amanda Push

Imagine a world where particular memories of yours are, without warning, missing. You no longer remember your parents, your entire college experience, or your first job. Memories that play a vital role in molding you into the person you are today.

The idea is frankly horrifying, and it is the brain child of Durango author Blake Crouch. “Recursion” is Crouch’s latest work, and is slated to hit the shelves June 11. The novel is a standalone from his previous works, including New York Times bestseller “Dark Matter,” the Wayward Pines trilogy, which has since been made into a FOX television series, and his Letty Dobesh novels that were adapted into the TNT show “Good Behavior,” which he co-created.

“Recursion” kicks off with Detective Barry Sutton called to the scene of a woman preparing to jump off the rooftop of a Manhattan building. Her last words to him before she plunges to her death are, “My son has been erased.” Sutton investigates her death and finds that the woman, along with others across the country, was a victim of False Memory Syndrome, a disease that plants false memories in people’s brains. What unfolds is a harrowing tale that’s part science fiction, suspense, and thriller.

What, pray tell, inspired such an horrific plot line, we asked Crouch over the phone.

“I wanted to write something after “Dark Matter” that was on an even larger scale,” Crouch said. “I tried thinking, what is the most fundamental element to our existence? It’s memory. If you start messing with memory, our reality starts falling away. I came across this study that these gentlemen at MIT did where they were planting false memories in the brains of mice and I thought maybe if I could put this on a bigger scale.”

Many of the memories that characters bring up in “Recursion” come from Crouch’s own life. One in particular was a memory of him sitting in a dentist’s office watching the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger launch, which exploded 73 seconds later, killing all seven of its occupants.

“That was a really powerful memory for me,” Crouch said.

The author’s current work is a far cry from his earlier pieces, which are focused on horror.

“My first books were definitely horror thrillers with high body counts,” Crouch said. “I was very much into Thomas Harris, who wrote “The Silence of the Lambs.” As I got older I realized you can alienate the audience if you focus too much on horror. It narrows the audience. I have kids and wanted to tackle fundamental questions of existence. You don’t need horror to do that. I spent more time reading scientific articles. … I discovered there was a larger audience for me and I was enjoying writing more of the sci-fi.”

The last five years have been busy for Crouch, as he’s hit mainstream success and is working on not only his books, but on the television sets of his shows. Recently, he’s chosen to focus more on his novels, so when he’s not promoting “Recursion,” he’ll work on his next book.

“It’s very surreal to see a story taken from one medium to another. I was fortunate enough to be write on these shows and be involved,” Crouch said. “It was a wild ride and it was completely engrossing. It’s hard to do anything else creatively though, which is why I’ve been trying to step back and why I’ve chosen to not be involved in adaptation of ‘Recursion.’”

You can pre-order “Recursion” at mariasbookshop.com or at penguinrandomhouse.com.

Amanda Push


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